Nicky Morgan was banned from a Downing Street meeting after criticising Theresa May's leather trousers

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A bitter spat erupted between a top aide to Theresa May and Nicky Morgan after the former Cabinet minister was banned from a No 10 meeting in a row over the Prime Minister's trousers.

Theresa May and Nicky Morgan
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Fiona Hill branded the sacked former education secretary "that woman" after Morgan was publicly critical of the PM's decision to wear leather trousers that cost nearly £1,000 during a photo shoot for a newspaper.

Twitter users got to work posting under the hashtag #trousergate in response to the drama.

The joint chief of staff had previously met with Morgan and fellow Tory Alistair Burt and invited them to a meeting with May about their views on Brexit next week.

But text messages obtained by the Mail on Sunday show that Hill texted Burt to tell him "Don't bring that woman to No 10 again" after she spoke out about the premier's decision to pose in Amanda Wakeley-designed 'bitter chocolate' trousers.

Morgan, however, found out about the message and sent the aide a stinging riposte.

The message seen by the Mail on Sunday said: "If you don't like something I have said or done, please tell me directly. No man brings me to any meeting. Your team invites me. If you don't want my views in future meetings you need to tell them."

Hill, believed to be referring to the pair attending the previous meeting together, replied: "Well, he just did. So there!"

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Earlier this week, May insisted she was not out of touch with ordinary people because she opted to wear costly clothing.

Morgan had expressed doubts about the fashion choice, insisting: "My barometer is always: 'How am I going to explain this in Loughborough market?'"

The MP said the trousers had been "noticed and discussed" in Tory circles. Morgan said: "I don't have leather trousers. I don't think I've ever spent that much on anything apart from my wedding dress."